Headliner: August Burns Red
Supports: Alpha Wolf, Gravemind
Date: 14th October 2019
Venue: The Triffid
Celebrating one of the most influential metalcore albums of all time, August Burns Red brought ’10 Years of Constellations’ to Australian shores, bringing Alpha Wolf and Gravemind along for the ride. An absolutely bonza lineup to say the least, I almost felt unworthy to be graced by so much musical talent on the same stage. Nevertheless, my body, along with many others, were ready.
- Gravemind -
Before struggling with parking around The Triffid (one of Brisbane’s finest venues, mind you), being met with a line at the door and making one of the fiercest beelines to the mosh pit I’ve ever done, Gravemind’s set was underway with their technical prowess and musical expertise on full display. I was very excited to have made it down early on a Monday night, and I’m sure many other patrons were as well; Brisbane was getting it’s first opportunity to hear tracks off of “Conduit” since its release (not including some sneaky teasers during their last visit with Make Them Suffer) and the wait was well worth it.
Gravemind were their usual, tight-as-tight-can-be selves which is really the only way that these songs should be performed; so much would be lost if ‘Reading:Steiner’ wasn’t played to perfection, and the pure, raw, emotional energy of ‘Phantom Pain’ wouldn’t have the same effect if these boys weren’t able to keep up with their studio recordings. Thankfully, they can, and my only qualm is to do with the sound at The Triffid during their set. The snare sounded quite hollow for me at times, as did other minor moments, but I could probably put that down to the natural reverberation in the air-hangar-esque venue. Regardless of this, ‘Lifelike’ sounded absolutely monstrous as a set closer for them, special shout out as well for Mel Thompson for putting on a wicked light show and keeping these guys in check whilst travelling around the country (which is no easy feat).
As awesome as it is to see these new songs played, it breaks my heart to usher in the new era of Gravemind as some old favourites from "The Deathgate" and "The Hateful One" are slowly phased out of their live shows, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. If you’re planning on going to Good Things later this year, be sure to catch these Melbourne metal maestros and you could find yourself a new favourite band.
- Alpha Wolf -
A three band bill coupled with an early start (most likely to accommodate any restrictions that may be in place on a Monday night) allowed for long changeover times between bands, which also allowed for more people to show up for one of, if not THE, hottest Australian act in the alternative music scene right now. And hell, a LOT more people showed up during this half an hour or so interval. Alpha Wolf have gotten a lot of love from Brisbane every time they’ve come through, and tonight was no exception, being met with a rapturous applause as they took to the stage.
Whilst a Gravemind set might be a bit more technically inclined in my opinion, Alpha’s evolution of their writing style has allowed for some REALLY engaging stage presence from every member of the band. Guitarist, Sabian Lynch, is like a car crash you can’t take your eyes off of, commanding attention with his tall, lanky frame. John Arnold dominates his space on bass and provides some wicked back/youtu.be/Sh-OHHosvscup vocals from time to time. Whilst Lochie Keogh has an unmatched, youthful swagger and style that, combined with his talent, puts him a cut above most other Australian front men.
The band busted out a great combination of bangers from “Mono” and “Fault”, garnering huge crowd participation with songs like ‘Golden Fate:Water Break’ or ‘Sub-Zero’ and inciting some dangerously fun pits with ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Russian Roulette’. Alpha Wolf have their live show perfected to an absolute tee and if you’ve genuinely been living under a rock and missed all of their hype over the last 2 years, now is the time to get behind them and catch shows in Australia before they’re probably caught in an endless international cycle of playing overseas. They’re good enough to get there and are well on their way at this point.
I saw 2 of the best live performances by Australian bands in my life in one night and absolutely nothing could prepare me for how hard August Burns Red were going to blow Melbourne’s finest exports out of the water. Lochie took a moment to acknowledge ABR as the ‘metalcore masters’ and he couldn’t have been more on the money.
- August Burns Red -
To my knowledge, ABR hadn’t graced our shores since the highly-acclaimed ‘Node’ tour, headlined by Northlane back in 2015 (who, funnily enough, played a show for their ‘Alien’ Tour the night before at The Triffid as well) and the crowd was absolutely ready for their return.
Unfortunately, I’m not as versed in August Burns Red’s catalogue as I could be, despite having the utmost respect and admiration for them as musicians, I’ve never dived right in to their discography and will struggle with names of songs. They were a largely hyped band by some of my peers in high school before I even knew what metalcore was, and back then, all I knew was that Matt Greiner was a fucking beast on the drums (disclaimer: he still is).
The energy in the room was at boiling point by the time Jake Luhrs led his companions to centre stage and the crowd wasted no time in getting things moving. Riffs were met with circle pits, breakdowns with push pits, whilst I was safely enjoying the show from upstairs after enduring the energetic crowd from our Australian portion of this lineup. Remember how I said Triffid is a great venue? There’s a freaking TV upstairs too
Something I really enjoyed about ABR’s set was their ability to efficiently breeze through song after song, leaving minimal time for banter between tracks. Whilst I normally enjoy consistent talking to the crowd through a gig, every few songs, Jake would get into a bit of a groove and show off his storytelling abilities. We were treated to a hilarious tale of him encountering a koala earlier in the day which ended in him getting koala faeces on his shirt. As well as his experience with a fan who was attending the show in honour of her friend who died in a tragic accident recently, who was meant to be seeing the show too. This turned out to be really touching for the band, as they tell a similar story in their song ‘Amnesia’ (which they then transitioned into playing).
This was one of the best concerts I’ve been to, hands down. On paper, it’s a tour package I hope as many people as possible got to experience. Gravemind and Alpha Wolf have the capability to become household names one day, similar to August Burns Red, so please support their musical journeys moving forward too.
Metalcore ain’t dead \m/